The Star of Understanding

Black Elk and Revelations both end their ceremony speaking of the Day Break  or Morning Star. The planet Mercury is usually the Morning Star as it is the planet closest to the sun and most often precedes the sun over the horizon.  Revelations goes on quite a bit about the birth of a heavenly child. One astronomical pattern that is interpreted as a courtship is the dance between Mars and Venus. They meet up in the same sector of the sky about every six years. When they are joined by Mercury, their union is considered to have been blessed with a child. Mercury is associated with the element of air, so it makes sense the Horse Dance would be tied its travels through the skies.

Since the solar year is only relevant when people have established permanent communities, most indigenous peoples have multiple calendars tracking the patterns of relationships between the stars and the visible planets. Different clans tracked different patterns and planets.  So in the context of three clans, people of the air would base their observations around Mercury, people of the fire would organize their ceremonies around the sun, and the people of the sea would live by the moon and the tides.

The contemporary Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar while the twelve month calendar mentioned in Revelations is solar calendar. Part of the much earlier conflict between the Jews and the Egyptians was the conflict between those that followed the moon and the sun-worshipers. I tend to think a lot of the vitriol, the insults and aspersions, spewing out of Revelations rise out of that sort of conflict at a time when the children of Abraham were moving out of a pluralistic indigenous culture into what was becoming the monotheistic agriculturally based Roman empire. And of course, now we are all tied to the solar calendar as defined by the Catholic Church.

Onward through the closing ceremonies:

Black Elk says:

Now Black Road, who had helped me to perform the dance, took the sacred pipe from the virgin of the east. After filling it with chacun sha sha, the bark of the red willow, he lit and offered it to the Powers of the World, sending a voice thus:

  • “Grandfathers,
  • you where the sun goes down,
  • you of the sacred wind where the white giant lives,
  • you where the day comes forth and the morning star,
  • you where lives the power to grow,
  • you of the sky and you of the earth,
  • wings of the air and four-leggeds of the world,
  • behold! I, myself, with my horse nation
  • have done what I was to do on earth.
  • To all of you I offer this pipe that my people may live!”

Then he smoked and passed the pipe. It went all over the village until every one had smoked at least a puff.

Revelations says:

  • Both the Breath and the Bride are saying ‘Come!’
  •  Let him who hears say ‘Come!’
  • Let him who is athirst come
  • And let him who is willing
  • receive the water of life as a free gift

Black Elk says:

  • After the horse dance was over, it seemed that I was above the ground and did not touch it when I walked. I felt very happy, for I could see that my people were all happier. Many crowded around me and said that they or their relatives who had been feeling sick were well again, and these gave me many gifts. Even the horses seemed to be healthier and happier after the dance.
  • The fear that was on me so long was gone, and when thunder clouds appeared I was always glad to see them, for they came as relatives now to visit me. Everything seemed good and beautiful now, and kind.

Revelations says:

  • Immortal are those who are washing their robes so they may have authority over the tree of life and may enter by the gateways into the city.

Black Elk says:

  • Before this, the medicine men would not talk to me, but now they would come to me to talk about my vision.

Revelations says:

I, Ionnes, am he who was seeing and hearing these mysteries , and when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the Divinity who was making known these mysteries to me. And he says to me:

  • See to it that you do not. I am a fellow-slave with you and your brothers, the seers, and those who observe the arcane doctrines of the teachings of this scroll.

Black Elk says:

  • From that time on, I always got up very early to see the rising of the daybreak star. People knew that I did this, and many would get up to see it with me, and when it came we said: “Behold the star of understanding!”

Revelations says:

  • I, Iesous, have sent my Divinity to give evidence to you of these {works depending} upon the Societies. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, his bright and Morning Star.

The tradition of greeting the planets as they rise is ubiquitous among indigenous peoples. More along those lines can be found here or you can go back to the beginning

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